Leave of Absence



Request a leave of absence

Leave of Absence FAQs

About the Family and Medical Leave Act

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), if you have worked at least one year and at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months you are eligible for up to 12 weeks unpaid leave for the following circumstances:

  • Birth of a child; adoption of a child or the placement of a foster child
  • To care for a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition
  • Serious health condition which makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the position
  • Active Duty Family Leave
  • Injured Service Member Leave

If you have a spouse, parent, or child who has been called to or in on active duty in the Armed Forces, you may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of FMLA in certain circumstances. If you are the spouse, parent, child or next of kin of a service member who was injured in the line of duty, you may be eligible for up to 26 weeks of FMLA leave.

While on FMLA, you are entitled to receive health benefits as if you were still working. Please contact the Benefits Department at (423) 498-7087 for information.

Special rules apply to instructional employees which affect the taking of intermittent leave or leave on a reduced schedule, or return from a leave near the end of an academic term (semester).

For further information concerning the Family and Medical Leave Act, please contact Cathy Hendricks at (423) 498-7068.

 About Returning to Work

When returning to work, a physician release statement is required. You may be reinstated to the same or an equivalent position. Equivalent position is defined as a position having the same pay, benefits, working conditions, and substantially similar duties and responsibilities and entails substantially equivalent skill, effort, responsibility and authority. Note: If you go into unpaid status, your salary will be adjusted upon your return.

If you do not return to work following FMLA leave (for a reason other than the same condition, recurrence, or onset of a serious health condition that would entitle you to FMLA leave or other circumstances beyond your control), you may be required to reimburse HCDE for its share of health insurance premiums paid on your behalf during your FMLA leave.

Return to Work Form

About Your Benefits While on LOA

If you are on a Leave of Absence and continue to be paid through accumulated Sick Leave during your entire absence,
 your payroll deductions for your Employee Benefit Elections (such as health insurance, vision insurance, etc.) will continue to be deducted from your paycheck. 

If you are on a Leave of Absence and exhaust all accumulated paid leave, but are on Family Medical Leave for the duration of your absence, you will be responsible for paying your benefit premiums. If you fail to pay the premiums, your coverage will end. 

If you are on an Extended Unpaid Leave of Absence that does not qualify for, or exhausts your FMLA eligibility,
 you will be dropped from all Employee Benefit Elections on the last day of the month that your Unpaid Leave began. You will receive a COBRA election notice at your home address and you may reinstate your benefits by paying the full cost as indicated on your COBRA election form.

When you return from your leave of absence, please reach out to Vickie Hixson to make arrangements to reinstate your benefits. She can be contacted at: [email protected] or at 423-498-7227.

Americans with Disabilities Statement

The Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) values all of our employees including those who are experiencing disabilities. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), HCDE does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices and strives to provide reasonable accommodations and services for employees.

HCS's Compliance & Compensation Coordinator in the Human Resources Department will provide assistance and/or services for persons with disabilities. 

Employees may request accommodations through the help desk. For other inquiries, please contact Sara Garmon at [email protected].